Review: The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Publication: Atria Books

Publication Date: 11/5/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Atria Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Review: The Family Upstairs is Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller. Lisa Jewell has quickly become an auto-read author for me! I love the multiple POVs and the past vs. present narratives in this storyline. The book starts off a bit slow at the beginning, but quickly picks up towards the middle. I definitely didn’t see any of the twists coming which was quite refreshing. The characters are well-written and the writing style keeps you on your toes. If thrillers are your jam or if you’re craving an intriguing mystery, I highly recommend picking up The Family Upstairs!

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Mother-In-Law

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

Publication: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: 4/23/19

Disclaimer: I received a free finished copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was five years ago.
Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?
With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.

Review: The Mother-In-Law is the first book I read from Sally Hepworth. I was surprised to discover that this was more of a contemporary mystery than a thriller. The writing style reminded me of Liane Moriarty books filled with mystery and family drama. The story alternates between Lucy (daughter-in-law) and Diane (mother-in-law). Overall, it was a decent read. I really liked Diane’s character, however, I found that there wasn’t much about the male characters in this story. The storyline was intriguing, but I found the mystery to be lackluster. If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty novels, then this may be right up your alley.

Rating: 3/5

Review: Imaginary Friend

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Publication: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date: 10/1/19

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

NetGalley Synopsis: Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. 

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us. Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Review: Imaginary Friend is Stephen Chbosky’s long awaited second novel. If his name sound familiar to you, it’s because he wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Imaginary Friend was definitely a book that was out of my typical reading genre, but I’m glad that I gave it a chance. This horror book gave me Stranger Things vibes all the way and I loved how unique and intriguing the storyline was. I was immediately captured with the story and its characters from page 1. However, there were some instances in the story that lowered my overall rating of the book. First and foremost, the book felt like it was way too long (over 700 pages) and I thought it could have been culled down to under 500 or so. I wasn’t a big fan of religion talk or the descriptions of the dark fantasy in the book. There were also too many characters to keep track of and I lost interest in a few of the characters towards 60% of the book. Overall, if you like thriller or horror books, I would recommend picking this one up. 

Rating: 3/5

Review: Miracle Creek

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Publishing Date: 4/16/19

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Rating: 5/5

Review: Miracle Creek was my April BOTM pick. This legal thriller follows a Korean immigrant family and a single mother accused of murdering her autistic son. This book certainly lives up to the hype and deserves 5 stars! I really liked the premise and the complexity of the characters in this novel. The various perspectives also helped a lot while reading to give a more wholistic view of the controversial situation at hand. This is certainly a heavy read and I would recommend taking your time with this one. If you love mystery or courtroom / legal books with controversial topics, I highly recommend picking this one up!

Review: Before She Was Found

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Publication Date: 4/16/19

Publisher: Park Row Books (Harper Collins)

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from TLC Book Tours & Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: Before She Was Found is the first book I’ve read from Heather Gudenkauf. This thriller follows three preteen girls involved in attempted murder investigation in a small quiet town in Iowa. One girl is severely injured, another is in a shock state, and the last one refuses to help the authorities. Wow what a twisted and mind f*** of a book! This deserves all the stars and it’s the third book this year that I gave a 5 star review. I loved the format and the various perspectives in this novel. The story kept me engaged and on my toes from page one. I really loved Heather’s writing style and how she was able to create such depth with multiple characters. Her way of being able to write adult and child perspectives is captivating. Also just when I thought I was figuring out the ending, another twist I didn’t expect comes in. Overall, I highly recommend anyone who loves thrillers to pick up this book. You don’t want to miss out!

Review: I’ll Be Watching You

I’ll Be Waching You by Courtney Evan Tate

Publication Date: 3/26/19
Publisher: Harlequin Books (Harper Collins)
Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from TLC Book Tours & Harlequin Books (Harper Collins) in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: Courtney Evan Tate’s latest novel, I’ll Be Watching You, follows the story of Emmy who is grieving over the loss of her fifteen-year-old Leah, who supposedly drowned close to shore one summer night according to police. Emmy discovers that Leah has been secretly involved with someone who was possibly older and has a dark appetite. I thought this was a mediocre thriller. The alternating perspectives of the mother and daughter were interesting to read. I did prefer the daughter’s perspective as I found the mother’s perspective to be a bit immature and unbelievable. I found the writing style to be gripping and interesting, but I felt that the story was a bit too formulaic for thriller which I found to be a bit dull. On a somewhat unrelated note, I usually don’t comment on cover art, but I think a better image could have taken its place. Overall, it’s a decent read, but there are better thrillers out there.